The committee farm bill failed spectacularly on the floor last week in a 195 to 234 vote despite the support of Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerFreedom Caucus leader: Despite changes, healthcare bill doesn't have the votes Debt ceiling returns, creating new headache for GOP Letters: Congress, raise the debt limit now MORE (R-Ohio) and a cohort of 24 Democrats led by Peterson.
The ranking member said that Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) tried to look for a solution at a Wednesday conference meeting but there was none to be had.
He dismissed calls made Wednesday by House conservatives to bring up a Republican-only farm bill.
"They can't get that passed," he said. He said even if the farm bill cuts food stamps by $135 billion as called for in the House budget, the GOP would not have the votes since some GOP members never support farm subsidies while others want them.
The ranking member also continued to push back against blame from House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorPaul replaces Cruz as GOP agitator GOP shifting on immigration Breitbart’s influence grows inside White House MORE (R-Va.) that Democrats sank the bill. He reiterated that the approval of an amendment by Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Ill.) to bolster work requirements for food stamps was the reason the bill failed.
"Without that I could get that to where I was, 45 to 50 votes," Peterson said. He said that he had given Cantor a list with unacceptable amendments marked "deal-breakers" so Cantor knew that bringing up Southerland's amendment would cause problems.
"Then he came up to me and said I need your votes to get this to conference, why can't you help me?" Peterson recalled. "And I said it's because they all hate me because I'm working with you."
Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowRNC drops six-figure ad buy for Supreme Court, healthcare fight Five things to watch for in Supreme Court showdown Red-state Dems in Supreme Court pressure cooker MORE (D-Mich.) this week continued to urge the House to bring up the farm bill passed in the Senate, but there appears to be little GOP support for doing so.